When the obnoxious sixteen-year-old Peggy Dawson asks Cora Felton to solve a puzzle for her, Cora is delighted to find that the puzzle has been stolen. She is less delighted, however, when a blood-stained knife is found in its place.
Soon a body is discovered in the middle of Main Street, and Cora has a murder investigation on her hands. It does not help matters when she hears that her least favorite ex-husband, Melvin, is in town pulling a real estate scam, particularly when she discovers that Melvin may have purchased the knife. Now it’s up to the Puzzle Lady to figure out what really happened.
Cora pokes into Overmeyer's death, hoping to prove he died of natural causes. She learns the cranky hermit was the sole surviving member of a forty-year-old stock pooling agreement, and before she can say "capital gain," the town is full of heirs. Complicating things is Sherry's ex-husband, Dennis, who is playing detective in the hopes of impressing his ex-wife. With Sherry out of town, her restraining order against him is moot, and he is taking full advantage of the fact.
With Dead Man's Puzzle, Parnell Hall delivers another stellar, puzzle-packed entry in his entertaining Puzzle Lady series.